red chrysanthemums

We tend to think of spring and summer as the ideal time for flowers in the garden, but plenty of species actually bloom in autumn. In fact, it can be interesting to note that most fall blooms tend to match the colors we typically associate with autumn leaves. Chrysanthemums, in particular, are full and dense perennial fall flowers that feature shades of yellow, orange, gold, and scarlet.

And luckily for all of us, chrysanthemums are easy to grow. Even beginning gardeners will find great success with these popular blooms.

Assess your space. Are you working with a small planter on the porch, or a larger garden space in the yard? Choose a chrysanthemum variety that suits the space. These flowers can range from tiny cushion mums to enormous spider mums. A larger space demands a larger flower, or you can layer several sizes for variety.

Consider color. The easiest answer to this question is to cultivate mums in the typical autumn colors. But you can also mix in green or purple mums to add more color. Or, you might choose just one large mum in a bold color, and mix it in with other fall flowers of different types.

Grow your chrysanthemums. The most important consideration for mums is soil quality, because they will rot when planted in overly damp soil. Choose a well-drained, sunny spot in the yard for your mums, and add peat moss and compost to the soil (especially if it contains a lot of clay).

Mums should be planted early in the season, so that they can establish healthy roots before winter. Then make sure to fertilize them regularly throughout their growing season, because mums need a lot of nutrients.

Prune your chrysanthemums. Next spring, pinch off early buds from your perennial mums before July. This will double the number of blooms you receive in the fall.

Another popular pruning technique involves “disbudding”, meaning you remove all side buds and leave only one central bud. This forces the plant to focus all its energy on that one bud, resulting in a single, enormous bloom.

For more information on incorporating mums into your landscape, call us for expert advice. We can help you plan a new garden space or expand the one you already enjoy.